White, Patrick Fr (1873-1948)

Prepared by: 
Regina Ganter
Birth / Death: 

born 10th April 1873, Scotland

died 1 May 1948, Hastings, age 75

The English-speaker in the first Pallottine expedition to Australia, briefly stayed at Beagle Bay and then ministered at Derby and Broome, and Perth.


Patrick White was born in Scotland and educated at the Christian Brothers in Limerick (Ireland). He entered the Irish Province of the Pallottines and made his first profession in July 1895 and studied for the priesthood in Masio (Italy), where Fr. Georg Walter was rector, and then in Rome, and was ordained in August 1898.1


White worked at the parish of Hastings for a year before he joined the first Pallottine missionary expedition to Beagle Bay in 1901 together with Fr. Georg Walter, and Brothers August Sixt and Matthias Kasparek.


He re-started the former Trappist mission school with about thirty children, and ‘organised them like a true English sportsman’ according to Fr. Walter, with a blackboard fashioned from packing cases.2 However he preferred to minister to the Catholics in the surrounding communities, gradually stepping into the roles of the Trappists Fr. Nicholas Emo RP in Broome and Fr. Jean Marie Janny RP at Disaster Bay. Br. Kasparek reported from Broome at Easter 1902:


At the moment we (Fr. White and myself) arrived last night here by schooner, Fr. White in order to offer opportunity for an Easter confession to the white Catholics, and afterwards he will drive to Derby for the same purpose.3


Possibly because of the rift emerging between Fr. Walter and Br. Sixt at Beagle Bay, Fr. White soon moved to Broome, at some time between February 1904 and November 1905.4


This was the foundational period for the Pallottines in the Kimberley, so he started building. Fr. Bischofs as Parochus later wrote:


Fr. White, too, was out of place [in Broome], he never kept any books or accounts and left a lot debts. During the building construction period a debt of about 10,000 Marks was run up which of course I have to pay. Fr. White would have ruined me. He is a very good man but the worst administrator I ever encountered.5


After Fr. White left, mission superior Walter asked for urgent reinforcements:


I hope that the two Fathers who have long been promised to me will soon arrive, because, as I wrote to you several times before, since the departure of Fr. White I am the only Pallottine Father in the mission. I still have two Trappist Fathers in the mission, one in Broome [Fr. Nicholas Emo] and the other in Disaster Bay [Fr. Jean Marie Janny], but the one in Broome is very unreliable ....6


Moving on to Perth Fr. White again engaged in building projects and started to collect money. Fr. Bischofs could form his own impressions when he came to Perth to pick up the Sisters of Mercy who had arrived for Broome:


Perth, where the industrious Fr.Withe [sic] spreads the Pallottines. The church there will soon be finished. He pays everything with money he begged from the neighbouring areas.7


White also accompanied Fr. Walter on Australian journeys to collect money for the West Australian mission. In May 1907 acting Parochus Bischofs still had pressing debts and was hoping for good news from the begging tour of Fathers White and Walter.8 In November that year Fr. Walter reported from Ballarat:


Next month I will return to Western Australia and try to beg in the Perth diocese and then return to Beagle Bay. I will leave Fr. White to remain collecting in the East, there are three or four dioceses still to do. So far we have received £300 in Adelaide, £116 in Cardwell, £200 in Ballarat and this sum [Ballarat] will be £300 by the time we’re finished. Of course a part of this will go on travelling expenses, which are considerable here, but we hardly have to pay anything else but steamer and railway, since we are not in cloisters and manses. I will only embark on Via Collecte again if Br. White wishes me to help him. 9


White returned to Ireland in 1912 where he was appointed Rector of the studentate and novice master at Thurles. He was rector at Greenford from 1937 to 1947 when he returned to Hastings due to ill health. ‘Endowed with gifts of piety and eloquence he used these gifts to the best of his ability for the apostolate.’10




1 Pallottine Necrology, Rossmoyne and Sr Brigida Nailon CSB Nothing is wasted in the household of God – Vincent Pallotti’s Vision in Australia 1901-2001, Richmond: Spectrum 2001:24.

2 Margaret Zucker From Patrons to Partners – a history of the Catholic Church in the Kimberley 1884-1984, Fremantle, University of Notre Dame Press 1994:51.

3 Kasparek in Broome to Kugelmann, 23 March 1902, Provinzarchiv der Pallottiner, Australien, Nachlass Kugelmann, B7d.l (1) ZAPP.

4 Constable Cunningham camped at Beagle Bay for lunch and saw Fr. White and Fr. Russell on 29 February 1904. Pender Bay Police Journal Derby - Journal of Constable Cunningham (739) 14.2.1904 to 29.2.1904, ITEM-1904/1366 SROWA.

5 Bischofs to Kugelmann, 6 November 1905, Australien 1900-1907 B7 d.l.(3) ZAPP.

6 Walter, from ‘Beagle Bay Trappist Mission of the Sacred Heart, via Broome’, to General Kugelmann, late September 1904, Australien 1900-1907 B7 d.l.(3) ZAPP.

7 6 November 1905 Bischofs to Kugelmann, Australien 1900-1907 B7 d.l.(3) ZAPP.

8 Bischofs from Perth to Provinzial, 11 May 1907, Australien 1900-1907 B7 d.l.(3) ZAPP.

9 Georg to Provincial from Ballarat, 16 November 1907, Australien 1900-1907 B7 d.l.(3) ZAPP.

10 Pallottine Necrology, MS of the Society of the Catholic Apostolate (Australia) Archives, Rossmoyne.